Monday, July 16, 2012

Better Than I Thought, But Still (Ironically) Problematic, The 2012 The Final Battle Harry Potter Hallmark Ornament Is Likely To Please Fans.

The Good: Good balance, Decent concept, Neat light effect, Decent rendition of Harry Potter.
The Bad: Somehow, Hallmark managed to get Voldemort wrong!
The Basics: A decent ornament right on the cusp of being appropriately priced, "The Final Battle" is far better than I predicted it could be, but has a somewhat ridiculous flaw!

Late last year, at the New York Comic Con, Hallmark had a booth and, I suppose, to bait the fans, they revealed a few of the 2012 ornaments there. As one who did not get to attend that show, I was pretty thrilled when footage quickly leaked online. But, when I saw the Harry Potter “The Final Battle” images, I cringed and, in my mind, I was already pre-panning the ornament. From the angles I saw a year ago, it looked like “The Final Battle” would be a poorly-balanced, underdetailed ornament that was thoroughly underwhelming to fans of the Harry Potter films. Fortunately, I went into Hallmark’s Ornament Preview Weekend with an open mind and when I saw “The Final Battle,” I was actually impressed by the ornament enough to recommend it.

"The Final Battle" has good balance and the translucent plastic for the wands’ magical effects is a decent touch. That said, “The Final Battle” has an odd (to me) fault, which is that the sculpt of Voldemort looks utterly ridiculous.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, “The Final Battle” is a holiday ornament that features a moment from Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 (click here for that review!). Near the climax of the film, Harry Potter and Voldemort square off with magic coursing from their wands in the battle-damaged courtyard outside Hogwart’s. It is the moment the two of them, their wands coursing magic beams to create a powerful disruption, confront one another that is the subject of the 2012 “The Final Battle” ornament.


“The Final Battle” recreates the moment from Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows by featuring Harry and Voldemort on the rocky ground, facing one another with wands creating beams that are colliding. The ornament, released in 2012, is a surprisingly good rendition of Harry Potter (who has been a problem for Hallmark sculptors and, especially, coloring artists in the past), but an underdetailed, poorly rendered version of Voldemort. Voldemort looks animated and lacks the color richness that Harry possesses in this ornament. Measuring 3" tall, 5 3/8" wide and 2 7/8" deep, the “The Final Battle” did not sell out during the Preview Weekend at the original issue price of $24.95, despite it being the only Harry Potter ornament for 2012 (very disappointing for those of us hoping for an ornament of the Elder Wand!).

The Hallmark “The Final Battle” ornament is made of a durable plastic and has the two characters standing on the ground with a large sculpted magic force behind them. All of the pieces are molded together, so there is nothing that will fall off on this ornament.

The ornament is pretty incredible for the detailing of Harry Potter. First, possibly for the first time, Hallmark sculptors got the cut of Harry’s face right. Daniel Radcliff had long ago lost the roundness of his face, yet the prior sculptors continued to miss the severity of his face’s angles. Not so with “The Final Battle” version of Harry. Harry's glasses are a separate element that was then attached and they look incredible! What is most impressive about Harry Potter on this ornament is how the artists colored him well. His skin tones have some realistic depth and shading, so his cheeks – for example – have a bit of pink to them. Moreover, his coat and blue jeans are not monotonal. Instead, they look like actual jeans with realistic depth and shading, both blue and white.

The ground is also multicolored for a sense of realism.

The wand energy is, however, very solid in its coloring, as is the point where the two magic beams collide.

The real problem with “The Final Battle” is, unfortunately, Voldemort. Voldemort’s sweeping robes are an irksome contrast to Harry’s color-rich costume. Just as the robes are monotonal in their coloring, Voldemort’s face and skin are basically white. Voldemort’s head is misshapen (from what it is supposed to be, not just in general); is head looks disproportionately small, especially compared to Harry’s.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, “The Final Battle” has a battery-powered light and sound effect. The sound effect is simple, the crashing of the magic energies, basically little thunderclaps. The light effect sees both the red and green beams alternately illuminating and causing the center energy blob to light up as well. The light and sound effect lasts for approximately sixteen seconds and is activated by a button on the rocky ground on the front of the ornament.

Hallmark includes the batteries needed to operate the ornament and the light effect seems appropriately bright and the sound effect has a decent volume to it.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake “The Final Battle” ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate fantasy Christmas Tree, the “The Final Battle” ornament is a fair, though large, addition, especially compared with other Harry Potter ornaments. The ornament has a brass hook loop that comes out of Voldemort’s right arm. From that position, the ornament is actually very stable, more than I would have guessed. This is an exceptionally stable ornament that only sways when it (or the tree) is bumped.

“The Final Battle” ornament hangs very level. The base seems to be properly weighted to keep the ornament hanging so lit looks like level ground and a fair fight between Harry and Voldemort.


Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition original U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (reviewed here!). Since then, they have delved into virtually every other collectible franchise in an attempt to cash in on every major license. The Harry Potter series has had several ornaments made for it, a few of which have started to really explode in value because of the end of the cinematic franchise. Given that this is the only Harry Potter ornament for 2012, one suspects it will sell well. However, more discriminating fans are likely to be disappointed by Voldemort’s detailing and I suspect there will be a reasonable population that will risk not getting this right away and, instead, wait until it is discounted at the end of the Christmas season.

If purchased at such a discount, I suspect “The Final Battle” would be a decent investment piece. If Hallmark continues the Harry Potter ornament line, I would bet on character ornaments for the next few years, as opposed to more diorama-style ornaments. If that is the case, this could be the last big Harry Potter ornament for a few years and thus become a real collector’s item.


"The Final Battle" is a pleasant surprise for Harry Potter fans and a worthwhile ornament for the 2012 holiday season!

For other Harry Potter ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2011 The Golden Snitch (Limited Edition!)
2011 Fleeing The Fiendfyre
2010 The Pensieve
2010 A Gift For Dobby (Limited Edition!)
2009 "Harry! Happy Birthday!"


For other ornament reviews, please visit my index page, there you will find an organized listing of all the ornaments I've reviewed!

© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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